Vancouver lock up summer DP signing in Robson

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Scottish contingent continues to grow in Vancouver, as Barry Robson is set to join the Whitecaps in July on a free transfer from English Championship side Middlesbrough.

The midfielder, who becomes the club's second Designated Player on the roster, has signed a pre-contract agreement and will link up with fellow Scots head coach Martin Rennie and assistant Paul Ritchie following the conclusion of the English season.

“Barry has been a proven playmaker at the highest levels of the game for both club and country,” Rennie said in a club statement on Thursday. "He is a versatile box-to-box midfielder that can play in several positions, with the ability to create and score goals. Barry will be a great addition to our squad."

The club hopes the tenacious Inverurie native adds bite, creativity and goals to the club’s major hole in 2011: the center of the park.

Ritchie knows the 33-year-old well from their time together at Scottish Premier League side Dundee United, where they were teammates from 2004-06.

While Ritchie’s playing career wound down shortly after, Robson went on to Scottish side Celtic. There Robson played and scored in the Champions League against the likes of Barcelona, and helped the Glasgow giants to the 2008 SPL title and a Scottish League Cup win in 2009, although he missed out on the latter final because of injury.

After that, it was off to England with second-division side Middlesbrough, where he has played since 2010.

Statistically, the former Rangers trainee has an impressive goalscoring record, with 98 goals from 142 professional matches in the United Kingdom. That production shows no sign of slowing down, as Robson has eight goals and four assists in 26 matches this season for Middlesbrough.

He’s also played at the highest level, representing his country 16 times since earning his first cap in August 2007.